Front Page Titles (by Subject) 145.: Letter to M. Cheuvreux - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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145.: Letter to M. Cheuvreux - Frédéric Bastiat, The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics 
The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics, translated from the French by Jane and Michel Willems, with an introduction by Jacques de Guenin and Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean. Annotations and Glossaries by Jacques de Guenin, Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean, and David M. Hart. Translation editor Dennis O’Keeffe (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
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Letter to M. Cheuvreux
Mugron, 16 September 1849
[Lettres d’un habitant des Landes, p. 39]
You have probably returned from the spa, my dear M. Cheuvreux. I am somewhat surprised at being reduced to conjecture.
There are some dreary times in which disturbed imaginations are easily inflamed. Can anyone leave Paris without thinking that he has left cholera there? The silence of our friends, which is always hard, is now becoming difficult to bear.
The purity of the air at La Jonchère reassures me. However, you have many relatives in Paris, and are not you yourself kept there almost every day by your judicial duties? These ladies have doubtless not thought of sparing me this form of anxiety. I would like to attribute their silence to less-dismal causes: business matters, pleasurable activities, walks, visits, music, chats, etc., and they also have a great many correspondents! Everyone has to take his turn. However, I would be happy to learn that everyone in your house is in good health and that this is also true of M. Say, the Renouards, at Croissy, etc.
When I arrived here, I organized a shooting party. I am sharing the catch between the Hôtel Saint Georges and the rue Boursault.
Yesterday, to put this matter of the shoot in context, I spent the day in the countryside where I lived in the past, sometimes alone and sometimes with others. The countryside here is very similar to that in which you live, a chain of hills with a river at their foot and plains as far as the eye can see beyond. The village is on the top of the hill and my property on the opposite bank of the river. But if art has done more to the banks of the Seine, nature is more unspoiled on those of the Adour. It would be impossible for me to express to you the impression I felt when I saw these long avenues of old oaks, this house with its huge rooms with only memories for furniture, these peasants with clothing in clear colors who speak in a simple language which I cannot help associating with the pastoral life. In fact I always think that a man in an overall and cap who speaks French is not really a peasant, and then the benevolent relationship between an owner and his sharecropper seems habitually to me to be another essential condition in establishing the genuine countryside. What a sky! What nights! What shadows! What silence, broken only by the distant barking of dogs to each other or by the vibrant and prolonged note echoing through space of the melancholy voice of a belated cowherd! These scenes affect the heart more than the eyes.
But here I am, back at the village. The village! It has moved one step closer to Paris. They read the gazette. Depending on the weather, they discuss Tahiti, or Saint-Jean d’Acre, Rome, or Comorn.285 I was counting on the holidays to calm the political effervescence a little, but see how the wind of passions is getting up. France is once more between two impossible choices. The Republic has been led by guile and violence onto a terrain on which legitimism will beat it quite logically. It is sad to think that M. de Falloux matters and that the France of the nineteenth century does not. The population is nevertheless endowed with common sense; it wants what is good and understands this, but it has forgotten how to act of its own accord. A few horseflies always succeed in provoking it into inextricable difficulties. But let us not talk about such a dreary subject.
I hoped to have made progress with my book here,286 an additional disappointment. Besides, I am no longer in such a hurry as, instead of being a work of current interest, it has become a work of pure doctrine and can have an effect, if effect it has, only on a few theoreticians. The real solution of the social problem would need to be propagated by a journal while still being based on a major book. I have something of an idea of embarking on a monthly publication, such as those of Lamartine and Louis Blanc. I think that our doctrine would spread like a fire or rather like a light, since it is certainly not incendiary. Everywhere I have preached it, I have found minds marvelously disposed to receive it. I tried this out on my colleagues in the General Council. Two obstacles terrify me: my health and finding the down payment.287 We will discuss this soon, as I hope to spend the day of 30th September with you.
Farewell, my dear sir; if you have an extra moment, please spare your ladies the trouble of writing to me. Please assure them that the regime of privation to which they are subjecting me has not made me forget their boundless benevolence.
[285 ]A fortress in Hungary.
[286 ]Economic Harmonies.
[287 ]This may be a reference to the fact that Bastiat had to make a down payment to publishers to cover some of the costs of having his books and pamphlets published. See also Letter 68, note 155.